National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Hall of Fame inductee Don Murphy’s Equi-Stat record of $179,257 includes 20 years of reining and reined cow horse paychecks (1989-2009). However, he began collecting checks and awards long before that. Murphy is pictured at an Idaho show in 1982, accepting a trophy buckle for winning the Hackamore Championship on Traveling Trinket.
Murphy grew up with horses, as his father, Jim, was a horse trainer and rancher. After high school graduation, Murphy attended Fresno State University, where he helped to oversee the school’s equine studies program. Then, Murphy’s horse activities were put on hold when he was drafted and served in the United States Army.
Returning to the horse industry after his military service, Murphy built a reputation as a skilled showman and trainer throughout the years. Specializing in reined cow horse and reining events, Murphy trained and showed 23 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) world and reserve world champions.
The California native sold his Brentwood, California, ranch in 2003 and moved his family to Marietta, Oklahoma. Today the talented 74-year-old horseman is best recognized for his ability to teach others and is considered to be one of the Western performance horse industry’s leading coaches.
Murphy’s son, C.J., and daughter, Nelle, inherited their father’s love for horses and both have multiple AQHA world titles, as well as National Reining Horse Association and NRCHA championship titles to their credit. C.J. has lifetime earnings of $23,247, while Nelle’s Equi-Stat record totals $312,080.
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